From 1969 to 1972, a total of 12 American astronauts walked on the surface of the Moon as part of NASA?s Apollo lunar exploration program. In addition to taking thousands of photos, they brought home with them a total of 841.4 pounds (381.7 kilograms) of lunar rocks and soils from six different sites. Most of these priceless materials are stored at the Lunar Sample Laboratory Facility in Houston. The rest are distributed around the country for research and educational purposes. In April the lunar rocks came to UMass Lowell.
Over a two week period students in Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and Physics had a chance to examine the lunar specimens both as hand specimens and in thin section.
Lunar basalt in plane polarized light (l) and in crossed polarizers (r). Width of field of view ~4 mm.
The enigmatic orange soil from the Apollo 17 mission that so excited astronaut Harrison Schmidt. Plane polarized light. Width of field of view ~4 mm.